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Category Archives for "Joint Health"

How can I relieve joint pain?

There are several ways you can try to relieve joint pain:

  1. Take over-the-counter pain medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can help reduce inflammation and pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also be effective for relieving joint pain.
  2. Use heat or ice: Applying heat or ice to the affected joint can help reduce pain and swelling. Heat therapy can be especially helpful for chronic joint pain, while ice therapy can be more effective for acute or inflammatory joint pain.
  3. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. However, it is important to choose low-impact activities that are gentle on the joints, such as swimming or cycling.
  4. Try gentle stretches: Gentle stretches can help improve flexibility and reduce joint stiffness.
  5. Use assistive devices: Using assistive devices, such as a cane or a splint, can help reduce the strain on your joints and make it easier to move around.
  6. Maintain a healthy weight: Carrying excess weight can put additional strain on your joints, so maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce joint pain.
  7. Try natural remedies: Some natural remedies, such as turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids, may help reduce inflammation and joint pain.

If your joint pain persists or is severe, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. They can recommend more specific treatment options that may be more effective for relieving your joint pain

A look at common joint problems

A Look at Common Joint Problems

A common source of joint discomfort is inflammation. In fact, many of the problems associated with joint pain stem from inflammation. This can cause joints to become inflamed, swollen, stiff and even rickety when cushioning in the area gets affected.

Here’s a look at some of the most common issues causing joints to become inflamed and painful.  


Arthritis, despite being very common, isn’t well-understood. It’s not a single disease but a name given to group of about 200 problems that affect the joints. The root cause behind all of these problems is inflammation of the joints.

Arthritis can affect people of all ages but is most common in women and older individuals. The common symptoms that you can experience during arthritis are pain, swelling, decreased mobility and stiffness. Symptoms can range from mild and moderate to severe. As arthritis worsens, you may find doing everyday tasks a nuisance. Inability to climb the stairs or bend down are common symptoms of progressed arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is arthritis that occurs when wear and tear of cartilage takes place. Being the most common type of arthritis, this problem is characterized by excessive pain and stiffness. As the cartilage wears away, there’s no cushioning left for the bones. So, when you move, the bones run against each other and this friction causes the feeling of discomfort.

If the problem persists, the condition can get worse and joint strength is lost. The risk factors for this problem are obesity, age and any previous injury. Anyone with a family history of osteoarthritis is also likely to get it at some point in their life.

Arthritis can impact any set of joints, but its effects are felt most in the hips, knees, neck, back or the hands.

Another example is rheumatoid arthritis which is a kind of autoimmune disease. In this condition, inflammation increases in the body which causes joint damage and pain. Risk factors include genetic and environmental reasons.

For example, smoking is a risk factor that can cause rheumatoid arthritis in specific people who have a particular gene. The aim of medication that is given for treating this disease is to increase mobility and reduce stiffness.

Arthritis is diagnosed by a physician by doing blood testing and taking some imaging scans. If the problem gets bad, an orthopedic surgeon performs joint replacement surgery. Arthritis may also affect other parts of the body when it progresses, so other specialists like dentists and ophthalmologists may also be needed.....

What are joints?

What Are Joints?

Imagine if the skeleton had only one solid bone. That would make it very difficult to move. So instead nature solved this problem by dividing the skeleton into many bones, and creating joints where the bones intersect. 

Joints are also known as articulations forming strong connections that join bones, teeth, and cartilage to one another. Now you have the freedom of movement in different ways and directions.

Some joints open and close like a hinge such as your knees and elbows, allowing you to straighten or bend your legs and arms. You sit down, stand up, pick up, and put down stuff using these joints without giving it a second thought.

Others joints are meant for more complicated movements such as your shoulder or hip joint. These allow for forward, backward, sideways, and rotating movements. Just think of everything you can do with these joints and you’ll get an idea of how limited your movement can become if any of these joints suffer damage.  

But not all joints are created equal. For instance, while joints like the knees provide stability, others like the wrist, ankles, and hips let you move, glide, skip, or run.

And just as their functions vary, so does their anatomy. Which means that you also need to take care of them in specific ways.

Some joints are purely made of tough collagen fiber while others have cartilage binding bones together. Yet others have something known as synovial fluid in between cartilage pads at the end of articulating bones.

So while you may think that all joints can be maintained using the same methods, you may need to rethink your joint-health strategy. Let’s first take a look at the different types of joints found in the body before discussing how to take care of them...

The importance of joint health

The Importance of Joint Health

Every time you sprint to catch the bus, score a point against your opposing team, or shoot pool with friends, you’re using your extremely functional musculoskeletal system. This means a combination of bones, joints and muscles get you going where you want to go.

But muscles and bones don’t work alone. Instead there are joints that link these together. While bones support your body’s entire weight, your muscles pull your bones as you move. Joints are the connecting links that put both bones and muscles in motion.

Given the important functions of mobility and movement, it becomes crucial that you take good care of your joints. After all, you put them through so much wear and tear throughout your life.

Joints that aren’t well taken care of become susceptible to injury, inflammation and general dislocation. As age catches up with you, you can feel the effects of overuse weathering away your joints. So keep your joints healthy at every stage of your life so they can keep you moving even in old age.

But before we look at ways to do so, here’s a quick look at the anatomy of a joint so you can better understand what goes into keeping your joints healthy. 

Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide Book Review


Dr. Loren Fishman has teamed up with Ellen Saltonstall, a certified Anusara Yoga instructor, to write Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide. The 2 have also collaborated on Yoga for Osteoporosis: the Complete Guide.

Dr. Fishman serves as Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City. (For more information visit He has authored or co-authored 10 books, written 90 academic articles, and is recognized as a pioneer in the treatment of inflammation and pain. He is recognized for his research in scoliosis, piriformis syndrome, osteoporosis, rotator cuff syndrome, back pain and arthritis.

He serves as a member of the staff at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is a past president of the New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has written 5 separate books regarding the healing effects of yoga on certain medical conditions. He has recommended yoga to his patients for 35 years, and is also a practicing yogi. He spent one year training with legendary yogi BKS Iyengar in India.

Ellen Saltonstall learned about human anatomy and physical therapy as a result of her early career in dance. She found yoga to be an effective form of physical and mental therapy, and went on to receive her RYT (registered yoga training) certification. She now teaches nationally and abroad, and helps develop certification guidelines and curriculum for Anusara Yoga.

The Idea

The foundation for this book began years ago. Dr. Fishman traveled to India after he received his bachelors degree in Philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford in the United Kingdom. He studied several different alternative healing methods, and found yoga to be the perfect companion to traditional Western medicine for the relief of pain from several chronic conditions.

Ellen Saltonstall discovered yoga as a way to treat the pain she experienced as a dancer. She began studying and practicing yoga, long before she and Dr. Fishman decided to co-author Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide. Saltonstall went on to offer anatomy and therapy trainings, teacher trainings, and private classes and yoga sessions. While offering tele-seminars on multiple therapeutic studies through her website she met Dr. Fishman, and the idea for Yoga for Arthritis was born.

How the Book Is Laid Out

Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide is available in paperback form or as a Kindle digital download for immediate consumption. This review was based on the Kindle e-book, however, the information is the same for both publishing formats.

After a Dedication aimed at yoga teachers, the book begins with a Table of Contents. This moves into a handy List of Illustrations. While illustrations to help you correctly form particular yoga poses are contained throughout the book, these 21 illustrations show different physiological alignments and body parts. You are also shown how Anusara yoga principles help properly realign different joints that have been knocked out of whack by arthritis.

Next up is a List of Tables. These 10 tables familiarize you with the different types of motion and intensities of action that take place in joints and other areas affected by arthritis. The authors thank their teachers, such as BKS Iyengar, John Friend and Others, in an Acknowledgments section. You are then taken to the Introduction of Yoga for Arthritis.

Early on in the introduction you learn that "Arthritis restricts movement, yoga increases your range of motion – these two were made for each other." Gravity couples with the way the human body is made to put pounding, flexing pressure on joints, ligaments and muscles. Yoga has been proven to actually "improve the microenvironment of the cartilage and elastic parts of structures they protect", thus increasing flexibility and stability, and decreasing pain.

Chapter 1, simply titled Arthritis, assumes nothing, and begins by asking the question What Is Arthritis?. You learn here that arthritis is literally translated as "joint inflammation". You also get an understanding of how healthy joints work, and the way that arthritis works on your more than 140 joints to limit flexibility and range of motion, and cause pain.

This chapter contains an informative section titled What Goes Wrong in Osteoarthritis?. Osteoarthritis is the most common forms of arthritis, a broad term used to refer to the more than 100 different types of arthritic conditions. It most frequently accompanies aging, but can also arise from obesity or injury to your joints.

Osteoarthritis often increases in severity over years. It affects joints by causing pain and a shorter range of motion, but doesn't produce physical sickness or fatigue like some types of arthritis. Basically, this causes because cartilage gradually breaks down. This can lead to problems performing simple actions such as combing your hair, gripping objects, walking or simply getting dressed.

Chapters 2 through 5 are concerned with the explanation of exactly what yoga is. You get to know the Physiology of Yoga, how performing certain physical postures and poses actually works to deliver specific health rewards and pain relief. You are also shown why asanas (yoga poses) need to be performed in a very particular way, as well as some tips on how to hold each pose correctly.

Chapters 6 through 13 address individual body parts where arthritis pain commonly attacks. In each of these chapters specific yoga poses and strategies are discussed to lessen arthritic symptoms. The chapters are titled as follows:

Chapter 6 – The shoulders

Chapter 7 – The hips

Chapter 8 – The lumbar spine

Chapter 9 – The cervical spine

Chapter 10 – The knees

Chapter 11 – The sacroiliac joints

Chapter 12 – The wrists and hands

Chapter 13 – The feet and ankles

Chapter 14 addresses how yoga can be used to treat Scoliosis effectively as a pain relief therapy. Chapter 15 is titled Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory disease which causes separate spinal vertebrae to fuse together. This makes your spine less flexible than normal, and can result in a "hunched over" posture. This chapter is dedicated to practicing specific yoga poses to help add flexibility to your spine if you suffer from this debilitating condition.

Appendices include an Alphabetical Index of Poses, Poses by Chapter and Alignment Principles from Anusara Yoga. These sections help you quickly locate particular poses previously mentioned in the book. The book closes with a Glossary, a Notes section and a list of Resources for further study.

Who Benefits from Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide?

If you are one of the 350 million people in the world that has some form of arthritis, this book offers hope. It can help whether you are young or old, male or female, and regardless of your culture or religious beliefs. It serves as a simple and easy to use guide for arthritis treatment. Specific yoga poses are revealed which have been proven to effectively treat, and lessen, the painful symptoms brought on by different forms of arthritis. If you or someone you know suffers from this debilitating condition that robs your independence and mobility, you should consider picking up a copy of Yoga for Arthritis: The Complete Guide.

Strangely enough, you don't necessarily have to suffer from arthritis to benefit from this book. Yoga has been used in the East for centuries as a pain-relief tool. Inflammation is at the heart and soul of many chronic diseases. In many cases, inflammation can be increased, or even caused, by stress. Yoga is an excellent stress relief tool, so it makes the perfect natural pain-relief therapy as well. Whatever your age, arthritis or not, this yoga-based book offers pain-relief and mental health benefits.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects nearly 3 million people in the US. The condition appears mainly in women (at a ratio of around 9 to 1 compared with men), typically between the ages of 30 and 50. Unlike osteoarthritis (OA), which is caused by structural issues due to wear and tear on the body through injury and the process of aging, RA is an auto-immune disorder. This mean the body starts to attack itself for no reason that is yet understood.

Depositphotos_65937379_m-2015OA usually affects the knees and hips. RA usually affects wrists and hands, and ankles and feet. The disease also tends to be symmetrical, that is, affect both sides of the body, such as both hands at the same time.

With RA, the body’s immune system starts to attack the synovium, the lining of the joints, which helps keep them lubricated with synovial fluid. The inflamed synovium invades and destroys the cartilage and bone within the joint. The surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and stabilize the joint become weak and unable to work normally. Over time, this will twist and deform the bones.

RA mostly affects the hands, leading to a gnarled, twisted appearance, especially in the fingers. This makes it difficult to perform the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) like getting washed and dressed, and preparing meals.

RA also affects the entire body, resulting in fatigue, intermitted fevers, and an overall loss of energy. Those with RA also have to be careful of heart-health issues.

In order to prevent severe damage from RA, exercise is essential, followed by periods of rest. However, rest periods can make a person feel stiffer, and that stiffness can last throughout the day, as compared with OA, in which the stiffness will usually last no more than 30 minutes after rising.

RA can be very unpredictable, with cases varying in severity, and symptoms changing over time. In some cases, a person might have flare-ups, sudden severe symptoms, and then feel fine until the next flare-up. In other cases, the symptoms are always present.

RA is a chronic illness, that is, one which lasts a long time and at the present, there is no cure, only a range of both natural and prescription treatments.

The goal of treatment is to relieve the warmth, redness, swelling, and pain in the joints. If you suspect you have RA, early treatment is best to try prevent disabling damage.

21 Steps to Better Self-Care If You Have Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is caused by the wear and tear on our joints as we age. It can be caused by normal activities over time, the loss of collagen and cartilage as we age, which are like shock absorbers and lubricants in our joints, and injury, such as a sports injury.

OA affects more than 27 million Americans of all ages, but usually hits after 45. Good health is all about prevention if possible, through proper self-care. Taking care of your joints so they will take care of you is important, but if you are already suffering from the effects of OA, there are many simple things you can do at home to get relief from your OA.

The treatment option/s you choose will depend on where the pain is located, how severe it is, and how much time you are willing to set aside to take better care of yourself. In a few instances, you might the help of a partner or perhaps a professional such as a massage therapist to come to your home.

Natural methods for OA pain relief include:

1. resting when you are sore
2. physical therapy after an injury
3. custom workout routines to target trouble spots to maintain mobility
4. not sitting for too many hours
5. not hunching over a desk or computer
6. not doing the same tasks over and over again, which can lead to repetitive stress injury
7. gentle, easy stretching in the morning
8. gentle stretching before and after each exercise session
9. strengthening your core muscles with yoga, tai chi, resistance bands and crunches
10. yoga for flexibility and pain relief
11. cold therapy – apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
12. heat therapy –use a heating pad or hot water bottle
13. hydrotherapy –use water to soothe. Take a warm bath or shower, soak in a warm tub, or work out in a pool.
14. getting enough sleep
15. sleeping on a supportive bed
16. sitting in a supportive chair
17. using assistive aids such as a knee brace or shoe orthotics
18. meditation for pain and stress relief
19. stress-relief to ease tension and tight muscles
20. better posture sitting and standing
21. massage therapy, either from your loved one or a professional therapist

At least a few of these should work well, so set a schedule and journal about your success, and see what a difference each can make to your OA pain.

Should I Exercise If I Have Osteoarthritis?

One of the most common questions asked in relation to osteoarthritis (OA) is whether or not you should exercise. If people have sore and inflamed joints, the last thing they might wish to do was to start working out. However, moderate exercise according to your level of ability and mobility can often be the best way to preserve function and help you lead a mobile and independent life for as long as possible despite your arthritis.

Arthritis is a chronic condition. This means it is long term and is not going to go away. There is no cure for arthritis at the present time. However, there are many different self-care strategies which have been shown to be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis, including exercise.

One of the main causes of pain is the stiffness that is associated with arthritis. This causes a limited range of mobility. The more you rest, the stiffer you will become. The stiffer you become, the more pain you will experience. Therefore, gentle exercise is the best way to keep your joints as healthy as possible and relieve pain.

The current recommendations for adults in the US is 150 minutes of aerobic activity, and two 30-minute strength training sessions per week. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t get anywhere near that, but if you have OA, it’s time to get up and get moving.

Aerobic activity raises the heart rate to work the most important muscle in your body, the heart. Walking at a moderately brisk pace, doing aerobics or Zumba, swimming or doing aerobics in the water, or cycling, are all low impact and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

The US Surgeon General’s recommendation to take 10,000 steps a day is based on the suggested 150 minutes per week outlined as the minimum to stay fit. All the steps in your day count, from commuting to work and shopping, to any dedicated walking sessions you might wish to do.

Strength training builds muscles. Options include light weights, resistance bands, tai chi, and yoga. The latter two are particularly effective when it comes to OA. They improve range of motion and flexibility. They are also useful for relieving pain due to the mind-body connection through the meditative movements of each exercise.

If you’ve been sitting too much because you are in pain, it’s time to expand your horizons with some new workouts. Then see what a difference they can make to your health and OA pain.

What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

OA is the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 27 million people in the US alone, usually over the age of 45.With life expectancy on the rise, it is important to care for your joints to maintain your quality of life for as long as possible

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful disease that mostly affects the cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is the spongy and slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint and acts as a shock absorber and lubricant for the joint. Healthy cartilage allows the bones to glide over each other smoothly.

However, as we age, our cartilage can start to thin and wear away, which allows the bone ends under the cartilage to wear away. The bone ends rubbing together can cause pain, swelling, loss of motion of the joint, and a lack of flexibility. Over time, it can produce significant disability if proper measures aren’t taken to care for the joints.

OA can be complicated by osteoporosis, a thinning of the bone, which can produce rough, pitted bone surfaces, and bone spurs. These can cause pain and further damage, especially if tendons and ligaments stretch over them when you are moving, causing the ‘snap, crackle and pop’ we associate with older, creaking joints.

OA can also be the result of injury from sports, or from vehicle-related accidents. Extreme sports when young can all add up to wear and tear over time, and eventually require joint replacement, such as knee replacement surgery. Middle-aged ‘weekend warriors’ are also prone to overdoing things when they finally do exercise.

A complicating factor of OA is weight. Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on all the joints, particularly hips and knees. As the bones begin to grind together, fragments of bone or cartilage can snap off and float inside the joint capsule, causing even more pain and damage.

People with OA often avoid working out because of their joint pain, but this will lead to even more damage, reduced motion, and pain. The pain is also caused by inflammation in the body, that is, persistent irritation. We are not yet sure what causes inflammation, but some people with OA have had success in relieving their symptoms though an anti-inflammatory diet of healthy foods, and lowering their stress levels.

If your aches and pains are becoming more frequent, visit your doctor for lab tests to determine whether or not they are symptoms of arthritis.

Protecting Your Joints When Walking

Walking can be an excellent exercise for those with arthritis if they observe some simple but essential safety precautions. The precautions will depend on which type of arthritis a person suffers from.

 jogging on a trail

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the result of normal wear and tear on the body that comes from aging and sometimes injury. The main symptoms are joint pain, and sometimes popping and cracking, a condition known as crepitus, as the ligaments and tendons stretch.  Movement can be restricted due to stiffness and pain, but the truth is that joint health is a case of ” use it or lose it” with OA.

The more you sit still, the stiffer you will get. If you do try to exercise, you will experience pain, so you will sit still, get stiffer, and so on. Walking can help keep you mobile, improve your range of motion, and reduce stiffness. It will also burn calories, which will help you to lose weight. Losing weigh will take the pressure off knees, hips and back. Experts estimate that every 1 pound lost is the equivalent of 4 pounds of pressure off your knees when you step down.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body starts to attack itself most specifically the feet, ankles, wrists and ankles. Exercise is a must if you have RA in order to try to prevent severe damage as the RA attacks the joints.

A good pair of walking shoes with proper support and cushioning can keep your workouts pain free. Try to walk on an even surface to reduce the risk of trips and falls. Vary your intensity by walking up and down stairs as you are able.  In particular, be careful of walking downstairs, as this can put a lot of pressure on joints such as the knee if you have OA and are overweight.

Avoid carrying too much weight when you are walking, and be sure to stretch gently at the start and end of each walking session. Avoid rugged terrain that can cause you to twist your ankle or knee. Start gradually to avoid shin splints, microtears in the muscles at the front of your legs, which can make every step agony.

A walking program can help increase your flexibility, strength, and build bone and muscle to support healthier joints. So what are you waiting for? Lace up your walking shoes and walk your way to better joint health.